The Metropolitan Police Service has today (January 25) begun investigations into events at Downing Street and Whitehall where participants may have breached covid Health Protection Regulations on a number of dates.
The breaches refer to ‘parties’ held while the country was in lockdown under covid regulations.
Speaking at the London Assembly’s Police and Crime Committee this morning Commissioner Cressida Dick said: “As a result firstly of information provided by the Cabinet Office inquiry team and secondly my officers’ own assessment, I can confirm that the Met is now investigating a number of events that took place at Downing Street and Whitehall in the last two years in relation to potential breaches of Covid-19 regulations.
“My officers have assessed several other events that appear to have taken place at Downing Street and Whitehall. On the available information, these other events are assessed as not reaching the threshold for criminal investigation.
“Throughout the pandemic the Met has sought, as I have said, to take a proportionate approach. I should stress the fact that the Met is investigating does not mean that fixed penalty notices will necessarily be issued in every instance and to every person involved.
“We will not be giving a running commentary on our current investigations, but I can assure you that we will give updates at significant points as we would normally do.”
The Met Police has had ongoing contact with the Cabinet Office in relation to its inquiry into allegations of gatherings. Throughout this process specialist MPS detectives, supported by senior officers, have considered whether criminal investigation into any of these events was proportionate based on the available information. In recent days the Cabinet Office has provided outline findings from its inquiry, headed by senior civil servant Sue Gray, to the Met Police.
Following detailed assessments of these outline findings the Met has decided to open investigations into potential breaches of HPA regulations during events at Downing Street and Whitehall on a number of dates.
The Met Police Service has written to the Cabinet Office this morning with a formal request for it to refer all relevant information gathered from its inquiry in relation to events on the dates in question to support the police investigations.
The outcome of Sue Gray’s inquiry will be put on hold until the police investigation has been conducted.